The operational and organizational stresses officers experience can reach beyond that of each officer, the uniform and the organization. People who have relationships with officers, especially intimate relationships, often experience the byproduct of an officer experience with work-related stress.
Work-related stress experienced by officers is linked to posttraumatic stress symptomology, anxiety and depression. High levels of anxiety and depression in law enforcement officers and exposure to hazardous situations are linked to high levels of alcohol use among law enforcement officers. Stress is also linked to a higher tendency to develop illnesses that are a result of deficiencies in the immune system and the development of sleep disorders in officers. A decrease in commitment to their assigned duties and attitude toward their colleagues is linked to occupational and organizational stress. Intimate partner violence or domestic violence has also been linked to operational and organizational stress.
What can the leaders, managers and supervisors within a law enforcement agency do to mitigate the work-related stress experienced by officers within their agency? This battle must be fought in three essential areas:
- Organizational structure: How labor is divided and managed within an organization.
- Organizational context: The social and environmental background of an organization.
- Organizational control: The direction and control of tasks in an agency.
Through these three areas listed above, leaders have the ability and opportunity to establish and promote supportive work environments that reduce stress experienced by officers.
Source: Police One